Feedback and shared experience

May 24, 2008 at 4:34 pm Leave a comment

Readers’ feedback is very constructive and rewarding, and I’m really happy to be of help in any way. As I’ve mentioned before, I spent four years going through my old journals to put my story in book form. That served to reconnect me with my past — the pain, sufferung, and endless ups and downs. Still, sometimes I wonder if I’m not too far away from the illness to really be able to put myself in the situation of someone who is suffering. On the other hand, this reflection could actually be a source of hope: I cannot imagine acting out that kind of behavior any more.

It was a long and rocky road that brought me here. I can remember being totally frustrated with the realization: “I cannot eat. I don’t know how!” And when I was so skinny, I wished I could magically have my old weight and figure back, because the thought of having to gain weight was unbearable. Of course, the process of eating was impossible. If I just had one bite too much of something, that was it. All was lost and I couldn’t stop eating. At that point, I had no idea what was enough or too much. I didn’t have a clue. I just wanted to be skinny. As thin as air. Light as a breeze. I wanted to live off water and air.

Today it really is different. Although I enjoy eating, the idea of eating too much is totally foreign. This may sound strange, but I would think: “Why bother? What good would it do me to eat more than I need? Why would I want to feel physically uncomfortable?” If I’ve eaten something good and am satisfied, that’s it. Simple as that. And as strange as it may sound: it’s a matter of practice. I’ve already described how I learned to eat, but here’s the link for anyone new. Eating is a necessary pleasure. It is something that I do for myself.

The other part of bulimia for me was puking. That is so unpleasant that I can barely manage if I happen to be ill. While other people with a stomach virus are vomiting away, I have an extremely difficult time with letting go. A friend of mine who is also a recovered bulimarexic (we recovered together) has the same difficulty. First, it is unpleasant, and second, we need to be honest and absolutely sure that it happened and we had nothing to do with it!

The refreshed memories strengthen my wish to help others break out of this deadly vicious cycle. I’ll keep on writing about what comes to mind, but I want to let you know that I am open to requests. If there is something I haven’t covered, don’t be shy. Go ahead and ask! And if you want to remain anonymous, that’s fine. I can’t supply what therapy would give you, but I’m happy to provide any helpful information I possibly can.

From my own experience I know that it is impossible to convince an eating-disordered person to recover with simple logic or reasoning. Of course they know better! Most suggestions are useless as well. I know that the person must find her or his own way. The person has to be ready for that A-ha experience, that sudden flash of insight or conviction which leads them to say: “I’ve had enough of this. I am going to recover no matter what.” I can only tell you how it was for me and what I learned in the process.

Recovery is something that the individual does for her/himself. Yet it is often helpful to hear from other people what they experienced, how they coped with a difficult situation, how they came to make a certain decision. This is pertinent for all areas of life, not just eating disorders. I can learn by watching and imitating others. They can serve as role models and give me the feeling that I am not alone. We can learn so much from each other!

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Entry filed under: About Recovery. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , .

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